Love Letter to my Sisters:
and the Purpose of your Pain
“Avoiding pain leads to the grieving being stagnated, so that the memories stay active and keep being charged with pain for longer than necessary.” Dr. John Veltheim, founder of the International BodyTalk Association.
Dear beautiful sister (or brother):
I am grieving the death of Robin Williams, whom I loved and admired deeply. Asides from inspiring me with his creative genius as an actor and storyteller, Robin embodied for me the essence of kindness, the expression of magic and joy and the ability to receive life deeply. For these reasons, his choice to end his pain by ending his physical life has deeply affected me.
As I grieve Robin’s death I am diving deeply into the pain of his loss both at a personal level and at a communal level —what his life and death mean to us at this time. My intent is to find the deepest and highest gifts, lessons and purpose in Robin’s life as well as his last choice.
This is the way my Soul wants to render homage to Robin. Today I want to share what I’ve discovered so far as well as some resources that may help you in your own process of grieving, self-healing and dealing with both physical and emotional pain.
The Purpose of Pain, the Alchemy of Grieving
“What is pain and what is its purpose?”
I asked myself at the deepest level of my current understanding. Here’s the answer I got.
“Pain is a cry from your BodySoul summoning you to listen to and care for an aspect of your being that is out of harmony. It is a warning that healing, release or transformation is needed in order for you to be restored to your organic harmony.”
“What is grieving?”
I asked myself when I recognized that I was grieving. The level of my pain upon Robin’s death surprised me. At a social consensus level, it is not “normal” to grieve so deeply for someone who you did not even know personally. Here’s the answer I got.
“Grieving is the process of diving deeply into your loss in order to absorb the essence and presence of the lost being, so that you can grow into a freer, richer human being.”
Grieving then involves several Internal Actions:
- Diving deeply into our loss and the pain it generates
- Following that pain to the very source, which is the Presence of the lost being (whether a person, animal or collective, a circumstance or even a plant),
- Embracing the depth of our love for this being,
- Recognizing and receiving the gift of this being in our life until it is a part of us
- Reconnecting with our Core Self and bringing into our heart the essential gifts of the Presence and relationship of the being who is now gone, and finally
- Detaching from the physical presence of that being as we carry his/her essence inside us forever.
This process is an alchemy that allows you to extract that gift and embed it deeply into your being. This in turn allows you to let go of the attachment to the physical presence and interaction with that being because you now carry the essence of that being in yours.
“Grieving is a physical transmutation and cleansing. It demands considerable time, attention, emotional energy and self-intimacy.”
Once I saw this, I could immediately see that our society does not allow proper grieving.
I remember a caller in a radio show where I was speaking, who was impatient with his mother because —one year after the loss of her husband of 45 years— she could not “move on.” Nothing I explained convinced him that she did not need medication or institutionalizing; but support in the process of grieving and the nurturing of a feeling that she was still needed in life, that there was a reason for her to go on living.
Our Avoidance of Pain
In our society people avoid both, the feeling of pain and the depth of self-intimacy required for grieving. As a result, they force themselves —and others— to “move on” before the BodySoul goes through the alchemical process of grieving.
Instead of the pain and loss being transmuted, strengthening our capacity to love; they are buried. These buried emotions become toxic and stagnated.
As a result of this aborted alchemy, our memories of the being we needed to grieve remain “active” (emotionally charged). That’s why —years later— the slightest mention or memory brings back the entire Emotional Undertow with the toxic, stagnant emotions that have now being deeply attached to our memory of the person and embedded in our Personal Story.
Grieving and self-healing
Early on in the grieving process, I noticed that my emotions and the things that were coming up for me were somehow related to my self-healing process.
I felt as if I was being immersed in a massive pain, —a collective, centuries-old ocean of pain— that felt too deep and therefore ominous for me as one person to handle. I could feel my body pulling away from that pain.
Was I “visiting” Robin’s pain as I connected to him? I could feel that this pain belonged to Robin, but not only to him. It belonged to me, too. And it was also the collective human pain of our time.
Memories that I’ve been healing resurfaced. Deep spiritual questions I’ve asked and answered came up to be either confirmed or transformed.
My “alarm” system —the parts in my body that usually let me know if there’s anything out of balance— were activated.
My lungs, the Grieving Master Organ (together with the Large Intestine), requested my conscious cooperation in breathing into my loss and pain. I have a long-standing practice of deep, full breathing, so I found the heaviness in my lungs strange; until I realized that this heaviness had been a constant experience during the time in my adolescence when I had gone what we would now call a depression —during my parents’ divorce.
With all these strong emotions and energies running through my body; of course that I wanted to pull away from this deep pain, which activated the flight or fight response! But I’ve learned to listen to pain as an ally, so before I avoided that pain I asked myself a third question.
“What does grieving have to do with my self-healing process?”
Our experiences and relationships are paths to our personal and spiritual growth and bring with them a rich weaving of life lessons, gifts, intimacy and discovery. Imagine that life is a laboratory where your spirit is exploring certain principles to discover new solutions to old human problems as well as new social dilemmas. Relationships, mistakes and even traumas are the experiments that allow us to reach these new solutions; usually with a great deal of loss, mistakes and wounding on the way.
If we are not allowed to complete these experiments —in this case a relationship— and extract and absorb its gifts, then we stifle the discoveries that we came here to make. There is no resolution, no healing, no growth.
Instead this unfinished business is deeply embedded in our Energy Field as a wound or trauma. The loss is registered as a lack, a hole. The Energy Field is a blueprint of our physical body. Sooner or later, this rupture in our Energy Field, with the Emotional Undertow of repressed emotions around it, surfaces as a physical condition.
“Our body has the ability to self-heal and self-regulate. But unfortunately we stuff things in dark corners and filter our senses so that our experience of life feels safe. So very often we create the problems and attitudes that actually stop the body from healing itself.” Dr. John Veltheim
Another metaphor that came to my aid was seeing that we are all a collective weaving in constant re-creation.
Each one of us at each given moment in life is a thread that intertwines with others in the creation of this dynamic human weave.
It’s not only physical proximity that determines the intertwining of our threads. It is also shared values, inspiration, collaboration, strong emotions and the impact we each have in the collective fiber —whether we strengthen it or weaken it. All these elements entangle our fibers.
Robin William’s existence had intertwined with mine because we are both storytellers and inspirers. He had become an inspiration and role model to me. But his choice to end his life was very contrary to my beliefs and values —though I pass no moral judgment on it.
This disparity send our intertwined threads into a shock wave, and it is necessary for me to address that movement and bring it into cohesion, so that I can reweave myself into harmony and reintegrate his existence into mine.
These waves I am feeling and you may also be feeling upon the news of Robin’s death are emotional waves. If we do not address them, they will become stagnated and sink beyond our consciousness, festering in the dark corners of our being.
As a shaman and in my personal process I have observed that congealed toxic emotions solidify, becoming physical issues such as tumors, inflammation, blockages and even suppression of the proper functioning of our organs and systems.
“Emotion essentially means ‘energy in motion’. Anger, for example, is a great mover and shaker when it is used in a healthy manner. Grief is like a powerful leaf blower that clears cobwebs and dust bunnies when it is honored and allowed to go to work. Unfortunately, many of us are taught at an early age not to express our emotion. Anger is something to be hidden or avoided. In the face of grief we are taught to throw ourselves into our work, get on with it. The flow of tears is often frowned upon, the expression of fear makes us appear weak. Instead of energy in motion, emotion becomes stagnant, hidden away in dark corners of the body only to reappear as symptoms in the not too distant future.” Tracey Clark, MP
Now more than ever —as we mourn Robin Williams and face our planetary shift and human evolution— I feel that we need to learn several teachings from the Sacred Feminine School of Wisdom in order to address pain as a path to freedom.
It is not a coincidence that several weeks ago I stopped everything I was doing to create a course to teach this. If you are interested, email me and I’ll place you in the waiting list for Take the Goddess out of Your Suitcase. Redressing your Identity to Address your Potential.
I summarize these three shamanic teachings or tools here as:
- The alchemy of Vulnerability
- The Art of Shapeshifting
- The Craft of Redressing your Primary Identity